CLA and NFU respond jointly to CAP reform proposals
The CLA and NFU have described the release of the European Commission's extensively leaked Common Agriculture Policy Reform proposals as "disappointing and a missed opportunity."
In a joint statement the CLA and NFU said:
"The Commission says it wants 'smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for European agriculture'. Both the CLA and NFU believe very few of the proposals will help meet those objectives and many of them will actually move farming in England and Wales in the opposite direction.
"In the last major reform of the CAP in 2003 we started with proposals that were generally helpful but unfortunately our own government implemented them in a way which was unequal for English farmers and hugely over-complicated. We, farmers, landowners and the Government, are still living with the consequences of those mistakes. This time we are starting with unhelpful proposals. The CLA and NFU, along with our allies in Europe, will do everything possible to improve them and remove some of the worst aspects.
"Ministers have committed to ensuring that English farmers are not disadvantaged this time, and the CLA and NFU will be looking to them to work with us to avoid discrimination against English farmers, remove the excessive complexity in the current proposals and help farmers become more competitive.
"More specifically, in terms of equity, we want to ensure that we have equivalent greening measures throughout the European Union. The purpose of this reform must be to bring the whole of Europe up to the standard of the better-performing countries.
"We want to see a fair allocation of the budget to the UK, in both pillars, so there is no necessity subsequently to move money between the two pillars - in either direction. Specifically, we don't support the attempt to allow up to ten percent modulation. We also need to see the capping proposals that would discriminate against the UK rejected. In terms of reducing complexity, we want to see greening measures which can be easily administered and monitored.
"What we don't want to see are definitions of active farmers that would be a nightmare to enforce. The restrictive definition of an active farmer, and the proposed payment reduction and capping, are highly discriminatory - hitting farms of equal size and payment to a sharply different extent. They will also hinder structural changes that may be needed to improve efficiency.
"And in terms of competitiveness we would want the obligation to take up to seven percent of a farm's area out of production significantly reduced. We will also insist that any greening measures do not have perverse consequences from a market or agronomic point of view."
The CLA and NFU intend to work together throughout the CAP reform process to achieve these goals.
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